A new report looks at how the workforce is expected to change in the next 20 years. The Future Of The Workforce, commissioned by UBS Wealth Management, outlines four trends it expects to see between now and 2035. How can your business prepare for those changes?
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
AI is has been described as the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ which will ultimately lead to the ‘hollowing out of middle income, medium skilled jobs’. The report supports this, suggesting that middle skilled jobs will be at more risk than lower skilled due to the high cost of designing AI to replace those roles. It is also estimated by the World Economic Forum (WEF) that 5 million jobs could be lost by 2020. More pessimistic predictions claim that AI will replace 50% of all jobs within 30 years.
HR leaders who embrace technology within their hiring processes will be best positioned to respond to the changes AI continues to bring to the shape of the workforce.
The demise of a unified corporate culture
The report suggests that around three quarters of businesses expect an increasingly multi-generational workforce to create a divide between Generation X and younger workers. This claim is at odds with research from McDonald’s who found that its employees are happier in a multi-generational environment.
As an estimated one in three UK employees doesn’t trust their employer, perhaps the underlying cultural problem lies elsewhere. For those businesses, the cohesion of their future workforce requires a more detailed strategy to rebuild trust. HR must also focus on creating a culture supported by technology that embraces all of its employees and brings the best people into your business regardless of age, gender or social background.
A decline in employee loyalty
The growing trend for millennials to choose a freelance career is expected to lead to a corresponding fall in employee loyalty. By 2020, the gig economy is predicted to be worth £2 billion to the UK economy, which requires a shift in the standard approach to hiring. The report recommends placing your employees at the centre of an ‘experience’ to improve retention and taking steps to reduce unconscious bias.
Paying attention to potential ‘flight risk’ employees is a further way of improving attrition. An article in the Harvard Business Review features new research from CEB which highlights additional reasons behind employee departures. As well as the ‘usual’ motivations to leave (eg, a lack of career advancement or poor leadership) a job search may be prompted by the following:-
- Work anniversaries.
- Comparison with peers, following school reunions for example.
- Personal milestones, such as turning 40 or 50. Job hunting reportedly increases by 12% before a birthday.
HR analytics can quickly identify key dates to help HR create effective strategies centred around team building, regular check-ins and recognition of high achievers. Additional data, such as, how frequently new hires have changed jobs in the past or monitoring concerns expressed during performance reviews will also inform HR’s approach to talent.
Additional methods of preventing a talent exodus and improving retention levels include:-
- Review the social media activity of high achievers to gauge their ‘flight risk’ potential.
- Promote from within where possible rather than automatically sourcing external hires.
Employee wellness programmes
The final change is the need for ‘wellness’ programmes as an integral part of future job offers, which reportedly improve productivity by as much as 13%. This coincides with a report from the TUC Postponing the pension : are we all working longer? which found that half a million UK workers are forced to retire early due to health issues. Our previous article examines ways in which HR can improve wellbeing at work for all employees, including strategies such as:-
- Creating an open environment where people can approach their employer to discuss wellbeing issues without fear of being stigmatised.
- A focus on physical and mental health.
- Acknowledgement of health problems, especially for employees with chronic or potentially serious conditions.
Again, recruitment analytics will provide insight into at-risk employees, enabling HR to respond in a timely and effective manner.
Prepare your business for the changing nature of the future workforce with HR technology that helps you to create an effective talent acquisition strategy.
For more detailed insight into the gig economy and how your business can tap into its potential download our whitepaper The Rise Of The Gig Economy.
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